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Committee OKs pot for epilepsy seizures in children

April 2, 2014

 By Richard S. Gubbe

After the major news networks aired reports of children suffering from epilepsy seizures getting help from medical marijuana, Illinois jumped right in to start that ball rolling on adding an addendum to the new medical pot law.

An Illinois state Senate committee voted 8-0 to advance a bill that would allow children who suffer from seizures access to medical marijuana. CBS News aired reports last month of a family that moved to Colorado for their child to be able to ingest a particular strain of marijuana that had been found to alleviate seizures. NBC and ABC and many other major news networks followed up, and an immediate groundswell ensued.

The Illinois Senate Public Health Committee held unanimously last week that those suffering from seizures common to epilepsy should qualify for medical marijuana and expand the current law enacted in January.

Nicole Gross, the mother of 8-year-old Chase Gross, testified in front of the committee that her family moved from Naperville to Colorado to begin taking a tincture, or extract, of oil from the Charlotte’s Web offshoot. That strain of marijuana has only a relatively small amount of THC, the active ingredient that pot smokers seek.

The only resistance to the state measure came from the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association.

There are now 20 states that have legalized medical marijuana, and the majority of those states allow children to access it. Although there has been little research involving children, parents are desperate to use anything, and there have been hundreds of cases of its effectiveness. CBS reported that hundreds of families have moved to Colorado to gain access to Charlotte’s Web.

THC is found to relieve nausea from chemotherapy treatments and provide pain relief for AIDS patients. There is a prescription drug without THC that is generically called Dronabinol from PAR Pharmaceutical that can be prescribed for those same patients. The brand name is Marinol, created by United Pharmaceuticals in Jordan.

The use of both can be prescribed for chemotherapy-induced nausea and loss of appetite in AIDS patients. The drug has been endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration for those uses only. The website WebMD lists no uses of Marinol for epilepsy. The drug is a cannabinoid, which is also a chemical compound found in marijuana.

From the April 2-8, 2014 issue

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